It was either one of the most epic ways to publicly quit a high-profile job or, as he now says, a misunderstood joke. Either way, celeb chef Bobby Flay's 17-year run with Iron Chef seems to be in question. Vanity Fair first reported the stunt: During a summer taping for the upcoming season of Iron Chef Showdown, Flay pulled off his apron mid-show to reveal a shirt that read, "THIS IS MY LAST IRON CHEF BATTLE EVER." The show is taped live and thus couldn't be stopped, and when confused producers reminded Flay of this afterward, he replied, "That's the point." The story notes that Flay chooses his words and actions carefully, suggesting friction between Flay and the Food Network. Now, however, Flay is downplaying the incident.
In a statement, Flay says he wore the shirt "to have a little fun," but "in hindsight, it was probably not the best decision because it's just creating confusion," per E! News. He added a not-quite overwhelming sentiment in regard to the show: "If I were asked, I'd be excited to return to Kitchen Stadium, whenever my schedule allows." The new series is supposed to debut Nov. 8, but that could be delayed given sexual harassment allegations against new judge John Besh. And all of this comes amid the backdrop of Discovery Communications trying to buy Food Network parent Scripps Networks. The latter would obviously not be thrilled to have trouble with a top chef bubble up now, notes Vanity Fair. It's not yet clear whether the show will blur Flay's T-shirt message when the episode finally airs. (Read more Bobby Flay stories.)